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Leading Silks

Michael Ashcroft KC - Twenty Essex ‘A superb strategist and a very clever, clear advocate who is good on his feet and knows how to argue a case.’
Robert Bright KC7 King’s Bench Walk ‘A clear, smart advocate and a brilliant strategist who carefully selects arguments likely to have the most impact.’
Michael Collett KC - Twenty Essex ‘He is very effective as counsel, knows his commodities law extremely well and presents his advocacy in a calm manner that goes down well with judges.’
Simon Rainey KC - Quadrant Chambers ‘First-class - the go-to senior commodities silk.’
Richard Southern KC7 King’s Bench Walk ‘Very responsive, with good judgment and excellent advocacy skills, his advice is always sensible and well-judged.’
Timothy Young KC - Twenty Essex ‘His main strength is his willingness to “think outside the box” and take on board difficult arguments.’
Simon Croall KC - Quadrant Chambers ‘Very clear-minded, user friendly, engaging and dynamic, he has an unmatched ability to distil difficult legal and factual concepts into concise and straightforward drafting.’
Siobán Healy KC  – 7 King’s Bench Walk ‘She has great depth of experience is user-friendly and commercially-minded, and provides thorough and meticulous analysis.’
Chirag Karia KC - Quadrant Chambers ‘Reliable, engaged and offering a commercial, analytical approach to law he is a clear thinker and a shameless proponent of his client’s cause.’
Charles Kimmins KC - Twenty Essex ‘A calm, measured and effective advocate who is first-class for fraud disputes and is also refreshingly pragmatic and practical.’
David Lewis KC - Twenty Essex ‘A commodities expert who is accessible and very user-friendly and who rolls up his sleeves and fights the client’s corner from the outset, whilst being alive to the commercial aspects of the dispute.’
Duncan Matthews KCTwenty Essex ‘A very effective silk with a strong presence in court and excellent cross-examination skills.’
Sean O'Sullivan KC4 Pump Court ‘His advice is strategically sophisticated but lucidly explained to clients, and his advocacy gains respect from judges and counsel alike.’
John Russell KC - Quadrant ChambersA very impressive and experienced advocate - he is the best on his feet and provides sound, commercially-focused advice.’
Alistair Schaff KC7 King’s Bench Walk ‘Alistair is an excellent lawyer and advocate and a top-notch arbitrator and has an apparently relaxed style.’
Philip Edey KCTwenty Essex ‘A clever and authoritative advocate who Tribunals respect.’
Peter MacDonald Eggers KC7 King’s Bench Walk ‘An exceptional advocate who is very good at breaking down complex legal issues and distilling them in a understandable and user-friendly way.’
Timothy Hill KC - Twenty Essex ‘A top-rank silk for complex commodities disputes, he has a razor-sharp legal mind that cuts to the heart of the most complex of disputes and he takes no prisoners.’
Stephen Kenny KC  – 7 King’s Bench Walk ‘A first-choice silk for shipping and commodities disputes, he is excellent at advising on complex issues of law in a way that is readily understandable by clients.’
Sara Masters KC - Twenty Essex ‘Excellent both technically and in handling clients, she is very good at bringing on juniors and creates very well-balanced teams.’
Luke Parsons KCQuadrant Chambers ‘He is insightful, technically brilliant on his feet and has excellent rapport with the bench.’
Vasanti Selvaratnam KC - The 36 Group ‘An extremely hardworking and powerful advocate - both in writing and orally – and a strong cross-examiner who is at the very top of her field.’
David Allen KC7 King’s Bench Walk ‘A tremendous advocate who engages well with clients, is a fantastic team player and expresses himself in a way that is easily grasped by lay clients.’
Michael Coburn KC - Twenty Essex ‘A very pleasant person to work with, he knows his commodities law extremely well and has a very strong intellect.’
Nicholas Craig KC - 3 Verulam Buildings ‘A stellar silk and a powerful advocate who is razor-sharp on paper and at the top of his game.’
Dominic Kendrick KC7 King’s Bench Walk ‘A brilliant lawyer and a great advocate both in writing and orally - with his arguments carefully structured with immense precision.’
Jawdat Khurshid KC7 King’s Bench Walk ‘He has an excellent legal mind and is full of practical and commercial ideas as to how best to approach an issue, and he is willing to pursue innovate approaches.’
Yash Kulkarni KC - Quadrant Chambers ‘User-friendly and efficient, he provides very clear and concise advice.’
Michael Nolan KC - Quadrant Chambers ‘Very thorough, intellectually honest and very smart.’
Fionn Pilbrow KC - Brick Court Chambers ‘Now a real leader in terms of having the confidence, stamina and client manner to take on the biggest and most complex cases, he is quick, fluent and with an eye to what is likely to appeal to the Tribunal.’
Nathan Pillow KC - Essex Court Chambers ‘His advocacy is smooth as silk, he has immense gravitas, and calibrates his cross-examination to perfection, charming helpful answers out of witnesses' mouths.’
Lawrence Akka KC - Twenty Essex ‘He is clear, persuasive and very easy to work with  and he provides very clear advice, as well as imaginative solutions to difficult problems.’
Guy Blackwood KC - Quadrant Chambers ‘A very intelligent and creative barrister who is an excellent advocate.’
Stewart Buckingham KC - Quadrant Chambers ‘Unflappable and as knowledgeable as he is practical, he inspires confidence, and for good reason - he is the calmest of hands on the tiller.’
Henry Byam-Cook KC - Twenty Essex ‘Consistently cool, calm and collected, he excels in particular in distilling complex technical points into readily understandable soundbites.’
Graham Dunning KC - Essex Court Chambers ‘A first-class legal mind, balanced and fair in his judgments, he has superb drafting skills and is extremely efficient.’
Christopher Hancock KC - Twenty Essex ‘Very talented, but pleasant and fun to work with, he is one of the cleverest and nicest people at the Bar.’
Philippa Hopkins KC - Essex Court Chambers ‘She has a pragmatic, clear, straightforward and calm approach that very quickly sorts out the wood from the trees, and a compelling, focused and persuasive manner.’
Julian Kenny KC - Twenty Essex ‘He is strong all round - on paper and as an advocate.’
Thomas Macey-Dare KC - Quadrant Chambers ‘His undoubted strength lies in his ability to process heavy and highly technical issues, and his advocacy style is calm, considered and forensic.’
Philip Riches KCTwenty Essex ‘A really approachable KC who gets stuck in and comes up with creative arguments.’

2021 Silks

Adam Kramer KC - 3 Verulam Buildings ‘Always a worrying opponent to face, he is a strong analyst with an eye for the killer point and he has a lovely relaxed style of advocacy.’

2022 Silks

Simon Milnes KCTwenty Essex ‘An extraordinary lawyer who combines legal skills such as writing and analysis and deduction, and legal knowledge with pure genius.’

Leading Juniors

Daniel BovensiepenTwenty Essex ‘He is obviously extremely intelligent and very diligent, and shows good attention to detail.’
Oliver CaplinTwenty Essex ‘However pressurised the situation, he is calm, responsive and he punches above his weight, a go-to senior junior for commodities disputes.’
Charles DebattistaThe 36 Group ‘He has an outstanding intellect, his submissions carry real authority, and he is tenacious and fights his client's corner with the utmost charm.’
Sandra Healy7 King’s Bench Walk ‘She provides high-quality analysis and very thorough and clearly written advice.’
Richard Sarll7 King’s Bench Walk ‘Cost-effective and user-friendly, he provides clear and prompt advice.’
Jessica Sutherland7 King’s Bench Walk ‘She is extremely good, very responsive and a pleasure to work with, and she has an exceptional eye for the detail of a case.’
Ravi AswaniThe 36 Group ‘Thoughtful, very thorough and user friendly, he has a very good grasp of the details and provides clear advocacy.’
Clara Benn7 King’s Bench Walk ‘She has the respect of her peers, as well as those instructing her, and brings a joie de vivre to any case.’
Benjamin CofferQuadrant Chambers ‘Very considered and a reliable pair of hands, he is responsive, user-friendly, approachable and good with clients.’
Ben GardnerQuadrant Chambers ‘He shows excellent attention to detail and commercial awareness, and is incredibly quick-thinking on his feet, taking unexpected twists in his stride.’
Colleen HanleyTwenty Essex ‘Very approachable and responsive, she has a collaborative approach, sound legal knowledge and an open mind.’
Malcolm JarvisTwenty Essex ‘He provides to-the-point and accurate advice, as well as skilful presentation of arguments in court.’
Mark JonesThe 36 Group ‘Intellectually very able, he sees both the legal and commercial issues, and never has a problem answering a question.’
Susannah JonesTwenty Essex ‘She stands out remarkably for her client-friendly and supportive approach to all instructions and has an immense capacity for mastering complex cases.’
Angharad ParryTwenty Essex ‘She is very eloquent and persuasive and has an ability to propound an argument clearly, as well as in-depth knowledge of the subject.’
Luke PearceTwenty Essex ‘Confident and easy to work with, he is one of the brightest juniors around, a polished advocate and a rising star.’
Charles Priday7 King’s Bench Walk ‘Highly responsive and effortless to work with, he has a sharply focused analytical approach and grasps all the points quickly.’
Peter StevensonQuadrant Chambers ‘A fantastic advocate with an excellent understanding of the commodities industry, he gives clear, practical advice which cuts straight to the point.’
Paul TomsQuadrant Chambers ‘Highly responsive, he works well in a team and his drafting is very good.’
David WalshEssex Court Chambers ‘A top-level junior, he has excellent written skills and produces top-quality yet concise advice on complex issues.’
Koye AkoniQuadrant Chambers ‘Very strong in terms of turn-around and accuracy, he is responsive, helpful and good with clients.’
Sushma Ananda7 King’s Bench Walk ‘She grasps complex matters quickly and works very hard and with great dedication to deliver excellent pleadings on a tight timetable.’
Tom BirdQuadrant Chambers ‘Very user-friendly, providing prompt, clear advice with the most affable of manners and dissecting complex issues with ease.’
Thomas CorbyTwenty Essex ‘He is decisive, super-bright, user-friendly and inspires confidence.’
Max DavidsonQuadrant Chambers ‘Confident yet understated, he is thoughtful and precise, has strong advocacy skills and quickly grasps the main issues.’
Josephine DaviesTwenty Essex ‘She has an impressive grasp of technical and financial details, responds quickly and clearly, and has a very sound knowledge of the law.’
Andrew DinsmoreTwenty Essex ‘He is very user-friendly indeed, grounded and willing to put his shoulder to the wheel, handling advocacy with considerable cogency and focus.’
Henry EllisQuadrant Chambers ‘A very capable and clear-thinking junior, he holds his ground and is utterly unphased.’
Andrew Feld - Twenty Essex ‘Very experienced in commodity and commodity finance disputes, he is very hardworking and is someone to be counted upon when things get stressful.’
Joshua Folkard - Twenty Essex ‘He has an excellent understanding of complex legal issues, his written work is of a consistently exceptional standard and he is inordinately careful.’
Paul HentonQuadrant Chambers ‘Very efficient and effective in his approach, he is thorough on the detail and gives very clear and concise advice on complex issues.’
Francis Hornyold-Strickland - The 36 Group 'An extremely bright lawyer and great advocate who presents arguments with ease and confidence.'
Marcus Mander7 King’s Bench Walk ‘Very sharp, incisive and very prompt in providing work product, he is also very clever.’
James Shirley  – Quadrant Chambers ‘Calm, measured, analytical but also pragmatic.’
Sean SnookTwenty Essex ‘Dependable and hardworking, he has great strategic vision and is extremely adept at assimilating large amounts of information.’
James Watthey 4 Pump Court ‘He is personable, a stickler for detail, and he always seems to get the judge on-side.’
Alistair Wooder - Twenty Essex ‘For a junior barrister, his commercial approach, responsiveness and precise work quality are impressive.’

Rising Stars

Jamie Hamblen - Quadrant Chambers ‘Very responsive and accessible, he has a good ability to gauge and engage with the Tribunal and quickly gets to grips with detailed facts and complex law’.

Commodities in London Bar

Twenty Essex

Undoubtedly the strongest commodities set’, Twenty Essex  has ‘some outstanding practitioners and the widest selection of very talented lawyers in the commodities area’. One market source remarks that it is ‘the premier set for commodities work with multiple options at every level of seniority’. Michael Ashcroft KC, Michael Collett KC and Timothy Young KC are among the most prominent silks in this area of law. Ashcroft KC acted for the seller, Tintrade Inc., in Septo Trading Inc v Tintrade Inc, a fuel oil dispute concerning where title passed, who bore the risk of off-specification cargo in context of blending and supply from multiple shore tanks through pipelines, and whether cargo was, in fact, off-spec. Among the juniors, Daniel Bovensiepen, who acted as sole counsel defending a Commercial Court claim totalling about $765,000 for alleged contamination of a cargo of gasoil, and Oliver Caplin, who acted as sole counsel in a five-day oil trading dispute in the Commercial Court, are among many who are considered to be at the top of their game.

Testimonials

Set

‘Undoubtedly one of the top sets for shipping and trade work.’

‘A great set for commodities disputes as well as shipping and related arbitration work. Huge spread of talent at all levels of qualification and expertise. They seem to be behind all current developments and cases in their areas of expertise.’

‘Real strength in depth. Even if our first choice counsel is not available we are referred to another strong candidate.’

’20 Essex is my preferred chambers for international trade disputes. They have great strength in depth amongst juniors and silks.’

’20 Essex Street offers the widest selection of very talented lawyers in the commodities area.’

Clerking

‘The clerks are professional and helpful, and understand the commercial constraints that come with certain cases, and are willing to compromise where necessary, which is an essential quality.’

‘Senior clerks Arron Zitver and Christopher Theobald are excellent and will always assist 100%. In a difficult situation faced with emergency litigation they are a great help.’

‘Arron Zitver is efficient and helpful.’

‘Excellent.  Special mention to Arron Zitver.  Everything a good clerk should be.’

‘Great service. Anthony Carroll is very good at developing the practice.  We have been impressed with the day-to-day to service from Sam McDowall, Matt Dowdall and Robert Wheeler.’

7 King's Bench Walk

7 King’s Bench Walk is ‘one of the pre-eminent sets and very good strength in depth’ and ‘the number of good juniors coming through the ranks is encouraging’. Robert Bright KC is one of the standout silks for commodities cases and ‘continues to excel in this area’; he represented the claimant Septo Trading Inc v Tintrade Inc, which went to the Court of Appeal and currently has an application to the Supreme Court pending. The set also has some of the strongest juniors in Sandra Healy, Richard Sarll and the ‘clear, thoughtful and smartJessica Sutherland. Healy handled a high-value dispute Quadra Commodities S.A. v XL Insurance Company S.E. and Others, which concerned a large-scale fraud in the Ukrainian grain industry and raised issues regarding the passing of title to the grain in the circumstances of the fraudulent scheme.

Testimonials

Set

‘Extremely strong overall.  Many counsel are leaders in their field.’

‘7KBW has a strong team overall.  The number of good juniors coming through the ranks is encouraging.’

‘One of the pre-eminent sets and very good strength in depth.’

‘I have been very impressed by the strength in depth and quality of the 7KBW team.’

‘I instruct barristers at 7KBW regularly – a strong shipping set which offers good value for money.’

Clerking

‘Gary Rose is very good to work with, responsive and understanding of what is involved. The firm has an excellent relationship with the clerks.’

‘Always helpful. Eddie Johns and Gary Rose are the two we have worked with most recently. They have been great in terms of contacting the court and going above and beyond.’

‘Excellent service from Joe Clayton and Gary Rose.’

‘Good team. Helpful relationship with Gary Rose and Declan Gray.’

‘Eddie Johns is a pleasure to deal with. He is always willing to be flexible on rates where he can.’

Quadrant Chambers

Quadrant Chambers is ‘a go-to set for international trade and commodities work’ and has ‘good strength in depth amongst juniors and silks’. One source remarks that it its members are ‘commercial in their thinking and easy to work with’. The ‘sharp, charming and persuasiveSimon Rainey KC is among the foremost silks handling commodities cases, as are Simon Croall KC and ‘extremely talented black letter KC’, Chirag Karia KC. Karia KC handled a high-value series of interconnected disputes for Unipec Singapore, the trading arm of Sinopec, concerning the ownership of cargoes of oil laden on four different ships and claims against an oil terminal in Singapore. Among the set’s many talented juniors are the ‘confident yet understatedMax Davidson, the ‘responsive and helpfulKoye Akoni and ‘incredibly quick-thinkingBen Gardner, who acted for Bunge in an arbitration claim brought by Marasca for payment of US$7m allegedly due as the price for a cargo of corn.

Testimonials

Set

‘Quadrant is my go-to set.  I find they tend to be commercial thinking and easy to work with.’

‘A very good for shipping and commodities. They have improved their commodities offering significantly in the past few years. They are also strong in admiralty work.’

‘Quadrant has good strength in depth amongst juniors and silks.’

‘Always happy to work with Quadrant. My practice focuses on commodities and they have numerous barristers available that have extensive expertise in this area.’

‘Quadrant is a go-to set for international trade and commodities work.’

Clerking

‘Daniel Westerman is an excellent clerk. He is responsive and commercial.’

‘Accommodating in terms of fees and practical matters. Honest and direct about counsels’ availability.’

‘Great service, very responsive.’

‘First-class.’

Essex Court Chambers

Essex Court Chambers remains ‘one of the go-to sets for commodities and shipping, with great depth both at silk and junior level’. It has an impressive track record in both areas of law and is particularly highly regarded in wet and dry shipping cases, as well as high-value fraud matters. Nathan Pillow KC, who is ‘a fantastic example of what a modern-day silk should be’, is the set’s most active silk in commodities matters; he led the representation of a claimant in a Commercial Court claim between Turkish and Russian interests for breach of a long-term contract for the supply of oil. Among the juniors, the ‘user-friendly, intelligent, commercial and pragmaticDavid Walsh acted for Trafigura in a claim against various Sudanese governmental agencies concerning crude and gasoil supplies.

Testimonials

Set

‘Essex Court is one of the go-to sets for commodities and shipping. They are probably number one is this area. Great depth both at silk and junior level.’

Clerking

‘I have found Essex Court to be very good and quick in responding to queries put to them. David Banks is always helpful.’

The 36 Group

The 36 Group ‘has a good range of counsel and is a strong set with heavyweight barristers’. Within the group, 36 Stone is a dedicated commodities, shipping and international trade set, members of which have extensive experience in shipping and commodities contractual documents including bills of lading, charterparties, contracts of affreightment and commodities issues arising in shipping contexts. Their work spans all manner of commodities cases in the civil courts, arbitrations, inquiries, and other tribunals in the UK and overseas. Vasanti Selvaratnam KC is the set’s most prominent silk and she handled a SIAC arbitration concerning supplies of Russian coal to Korean buyers, raising legal and expert issues as to whether buyers has a contractual right of cancellation. Ravi Aswani, who has extensive experience in GAFTA and FOSFA arbitrations, and Charles Debattista are among the most visible juniors in the commodities area.